Several teams could make an argument for being the best in NBA history. And the 1996 Chicago Bulls are definitely among the greatest—if not THE greatest—teams of all time since they earned the top NBA record at 72-9, before cruising through the playoffs with a 15-3 mark. But would the ’96 Bulls have beaten the 2015 Golden State Warriors?
This has actually become a legitimate debate after the Warriors’ record-breaking 18-0 start. And it’s not like this is an unproven team either because Golden State won the NBA Championship last year. Now they are chasing further greatness, back-to-back titles and the best NBA record of all time.
Given the Warriors’ recent record for best start, they certainly have a claim to be better than the ’96 Chicago team. And former NBA player and Sixth Man of the Year Eddie Johnson recently discussed the matter through a column for Hoops Hype.
In order to offer a truly valid comparison, Johnson went through and compared each position matchup, from Michael Jordan vs. Klay Thompson to Dennis Rodman vs. Draymond Green. Here’s a look at Jordan vs. Thompson, for example:
Jordan: The one thing people didn’t understand about him is how strong he was. He could control your body position on both ends of the court despite any weight advantage you might have. That gave him a tremendous edge based on his superior basketball skills. The trait that separated him was his fanatical will to destroy you. Klay would meet that person and then some in every facet of the game.
Thompson: Believe it or not, Jordan was easy to score on early in games because he concentrated on getting his offensive rhythm flowing. You allow Klay great looks early and he can compete with anyone. He is one the best three-way offensive players in the league. He’s good at shooting, driving and posting up, but he would wear down eventually from the intense pressure Jordan applies on both ends of the court.
Despite how good Thompson is today, this was an easy one in favor of the ’96 Bulls. Jordan is arguably the greatest player of all time, and he willed Chicago to six championships during his time there. Overall, though, Johnson thinks that Golden State’s depth, top-to-bottom athleticism and shooting would be enough for them to overcome the Bulls.
But while this makes for great conversation, the prediction may be a little premature. In 1996, Chicago was gunning for its third-straight title as they completely demolished the rest of the NBA. Golden State is currently hoping for their second-straight championship, and they’re off to an 18-0 start. But we aren’t even one-fourth of the way through the season, so the Warriors will need to match or beat Chicago’s all-time mark of 72 victories and win the title before they are definitely better.
In any case, it should be fun to continue making these comparisons as the 2015-16 NBA season continues. Golden State will try to extend their magical start against the Utah Jazz on Monday (Nov. 30). So if you’re interested in betting on this game or any other Golden State Warriors contest this season, be sure to visit us at GTBets.eu.